First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians 4: 3a (NIV)
This is God’s will for you: your sanctification
First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians 5: 16-18, 23-24 (NIV)
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
As the Parliamentary year draws to a close, Parliamentarians rightly review the past ten months to evaluate what has been achieved and what else remains to be done.
A valid question for us all to ask of ourselves is how do we gauge success? In the world, we tend to use the objectives that have been set as the standard and compare accomplishments against these.
Whose objectives were they? For a Parliamentarian, were they set by the individual, by the electorate, by the leadership of a party or a campaign team? Which individual or group has determined your KPIs*? Alternatively, were the objectives to which you were working set by God?
I believe God is less interested in what we can do for him than in what we are prepared to allow him to do through us.
In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul identified to the Thessalonians what he knew God’s will for them to be: their sanctification – and that they be joyful always, that they pray continually and that they give thanks in all circumstances.
The process of sanctification is not like the process of canning peaches. Once the can is sealed, the peaches are canned regardless of other processes: labelling, packaging, loading, transporting, delivering, displaying will not cause them to become more canned than they were at the moment cans were sealed. Sanctification on the other hand continues, at least for the entirety of mortal life – perhaps even beyond its end; God only knows. While we may be nearer to sanctification now than when we first believed, our sanctification is by no means complete while we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts. It continues – but only for as long as we are willing to have God’s Holy Spirit at work in us.
Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6: 33). The vision we must carry into the future is far bigger than of legislative priorities or economic restructuring or social reform. It is a vision of the kingdom of God established securely in each human heart, beginning with our own.
God does not require of us that we be successful, only faithful.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through (1 Thessalonians 5: 23).
*Key Performance Indicators
From an address to the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, 3 December 2014